900 Chicago government buildings to switch to renewable energy

By Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times.

More than 900 government buildings in Chicago will shift their electricity use to “100 percent renewable energy” by 2025 under an ambitious mayoral plan that contrasts sharply with President Donald Trump’s retreat on environmental issues.

Together, Chicago Public Schools, City Colleges, Chicago Park District fieldhouses and buildings owned by the city and the Chicago Housing Authority consume 8 percent of all the electricity used in Chicago, according to city officials.

Last year, that amounted to nearly 1.8 billion kilowatt hours — enough to power 295,000 Chicago homes. It would take more than 300 wind turbines to generate that amount of power.

Now, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is promising to make the switch to all renewable energy, though he isn’t saying how much he’s prepared to spend to make that happen.

The 900 government buildings will accomplish the shift through a variety of strategies. They include: purchasing “renewable energy credits” by going out to the market to buy a megawatt of solar or wind power; buying utility-supplied renewable energy through the Illinois Renewable Portfolio Standard; and by installing solar panels or windmills on city buildings and public property.